Why at least 9 high-ranking Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center employees have left the institution within the past year

At least nine high-ranking employees, from department chairs to administrative leaders, have left Columbus-based The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center since January 2017. Several of those who have left have transitioned to similar or higher-ranking positions at Morgantown, W.Va.-based WVU Medicine, according to The Lantern.

At least five of the nine OSU Wexner employees who have left during the last year were part of a coalition of 25 medical school faculty members that penned a letter of "no confidence" to the medical center's former CEO last May.

The seven-page letter criticized the leadership of former OSU Wexner Medical Center CEO Sheldon Retchin, MD, stating Dr. Retchin maintained "unrealistic clinical effort and research funding expectations that are incompatible with academic medicine," and disrespected the hospital's and the university's academic mission, The Columbus Dispatch reported at the time.

John Campo, MD, the Sinsabaugh Professor and chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral health at OSU Wexner, told The Lantern he and his wife, who is also a high-ranking employee at the university, plan to leave the institution in March for WVU Medicine. Dr. Campo was also one of the 25 faculty members who signed the letter of no confidence last year.

He said the decision to leave OSU Wexner was not one he and his wife made lightly, but was the result of leadership failing to address faculty members' concerns.

"I think that the university missed an opportunity to hear what I think were very sincere concerns by the folks who wrote those letters," Dr. Campo told The Lantern. "We were reaching out to ... the leadership to say we're concerned that we’re losing our way."

He said many faculty members' decision to transfer to WVU Medicine was grounded in the cultural differences between the two organizations.

"That's one unfortunate thing here at Ohio State is that you have the medical center over here and then you have student health and student mental health over on the university sides," Dr. Campo said. "And it's not like we don't collaborate. There are some wonderful people there and we like working with them, but we're separate services."

"The narrative has been: 'The problem has been within the medical center,' but there are always problems to fix. There are issues bigger than just the medical center that probably relate to the relationship between the university and the medical center that deserve a look and some consideration," he continued. "I think that the issue here is about culture, that the whole culture thing is one I don't know is limited to the medical center or if it's larger here."

During several board meetings last month, Ohio State officials said the university is crafting a plan to retain prominent faculty, the report states.

To access The Lantern's full report, click here.

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